Archive for the Gone Too Soon Category

Remembering Santa Barbara (Premiere Episode Included)

Posted in Gone Too Soon on May 12, 2009 by Jeff

santa_barbara_aAfter cancelling both Texas and The Doctors at the end of 1982, NBC decided to start another soap.  The network turned to Bridget and Jerome Dobson, who had done great work on both Guiding Light and As the World Turns.  The Dobsons created a soap that both sweeping and satirical, and managed to effortlessly balance romance and humor.  Santa Barbara started off with a five year old murder mystery (which took several more years to solve) and starred a young Robin Wright.  

It was, however, the pairing of Marcy Walker (Eden) and A Martinez (Cruz) that made Santa Barbara soar in popularity.  For most of the show’s run, the love story of Cruz and Eden played out on the front burner.  Other fan favorites included Nancy Lee Grahn and Lane Davies as Julia and Mason; Nicolas Coster and Louise Sorel as Lionel and Augusta Lockridge; and Robin Mattson and Justin Deas as the villainous  Gina and Keith.  The show won cartloads of Emmys and was a ratings sensation in Europe, but never earned decent ratings in the United States.  

In the late 1980’s, the Dobsons were notoriously locked out of their offices and replaced by head writer Ann Howard Bailey and executive procuder Jill Farren Phelps.  After many changes in writers and producers, the show started to balance out again with headwriter Pam Long and executive producer Paul Rauch.  Unfortunately, NBC pulled the plug on the show and Santa Barbara last aired on January 15, 1993.

In honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of the show’s debut, here is the premiere episode of Santa Barbara:

 

Texas: How it Ended

Posted in Gone Too Soon with tags on May 1, 2009 by Jeff

December 31, 1982

Remembering Texas

Posted in Gone Too Soon with tags on April 27, 2009 by Jeff

texasNBC’s Another World scored impressive ratings for much of the 1970’s.  The show was second only to CBS’s blockbuster As the World Turns, and it actually tied for the top spot on occasion.  By 1978, both NBC and CBS saw their daytime ratings cool as ABC’s wildly successful “Love in the Afternoon” lineup was on the rise.  Another World slipped from second place to eight; and NBC decided to expand the soap to ninety minutes in an effort to boost ratings.  The experiment failed, and NBC wanted a new soap to air after the sixty minute version of Another World.  Paul Rauch, who was AW‘s producer at the time, worked with with Joyce and John William Corrington, who had just wrapped up a well-received stint on Search for Tomorrow, to create Reunion. Reunion was set in South the years after the civil war.  NBC balked at airing a costume drama opposite General Hospital, which by then was the highest rated soap on the air.  Rauch and the Corringtons went back to the drawing board, and came up with a spin-off of Another World.  With Dallas being the hot new primetime drama at the time, Rauch and the Corringtons decided to set their new soap in Houston, and make the soap about wealthy oil barons and their families.  To get Another World viewers to stay on for the new show, Rauch hired Beverlee McKinsey to move her AW character, Iris, from Bay City to Houston.  

And that is where the problems started.  While the late Beverlee McKinsey is widely recognized as one of the best actresses in daytime, Iris was a villain. How do you create an entire show around someone the audience is supposed to root against?  And that is where the problem continued.  The show quickly dismantled ever nuance of the troubled, insecure, spoiled Iris that was lovingly written for years by AW‘s legendary writer Harding Lemay, and turned her into a leading lady who was reunited with her long lost love.  Other stories focused on Arab royal families, a Vietnam vet who had been presumed dead, and a middle aged doctor having an affair with a younger doctor.  Texas hired GH‘s Kin Shriner, who had been the odd man out in the Luke/Laura/Scotty triangle, hoping to get some GH fans to tune in. However, the show introduced Shriner’s character as suffering from a severe heart condition.  Teenage girls who swooned over GH‘s Scotty Baldwin didn’t exactly fantasize about his Texas character, who might keel over at any given minute.  

The ratings tanked, Beverlee McKinsey chose not to renew her contract, and Gail Kobe came on board as executive producer.  Kobe quickly sped up the pace of the show, introduced new younger characters, and paired Carla Borelli, who played spitfire Reena Bellman, with daytime veteran Donald May as Grant Wheeler.  Later in the run, actress Pam Long (who played Ashley Linden) began writing the show.  Long wrote old fashioned love stories with a lot of heart, and ratings slowly began to perk up.  

Sadly, Texas was canceled by NBC and last aired on Decemeber 31, 1982.